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Lexapro is available in generic form as escitalopram. The name refers to the compound, which is an active ingredient found in the medication. Patients who battle social anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorders (GADs), and major depressive disorders find relief with this anti-depressant. The same result is evident in those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorders.
The medication works by inhibiting the action of a protein which prevents the reuptake of serotonin (5-HT) into the presynaptic nerve endings, the site of action. To put it in another form, it inhibits serotonin resynthesis within the brain cells, reducing the body�s response to stress and the effects of depression. Hence, there are heightened levels of serotonin in the brain. When that happens, patients experience enhanced mood and reduced anxiety.
Combined with other drugs, like benzodiazepines or anti-depressants, the therapeutic effects of Lexapro are amplified. This process can also ease the transition from one type of medication to another.
The brand �Lexapro� can be administered as a tablet or syrup. The prescription tablet comes in three varying dosage strengths:
Lexapro 5 mg
Lexapro 10 mg
Lexapro 20 mg
Children who have difficulty swallowing generic Lexapro tablets can opt for the syrup. It comes with a starting daily dosage of 5 mg. Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor�s prescription, and additional medications, a patient can up the dosage to 10 mg. However, it shouldn�t exceed the maximum dosing strength of 20 mg.
The first two dosing strengths are recommended for children and adolescents, which can be taken with or without food. Adults can take escitalopram 20 mg alongside meals as well (optional). Oral intake of tablets entails swallowing prescribed tablets whole. Avoid dividing, crushing, or chewing Lexapro medication. It is important to maintain a consistent dosing routine. Failure to do so may lessen the efficacy of the treatment.
Like other antidepressants, Lexapro has potential side effects as it contains escitalopram. These symptoms vary from one person to another and could include:
Some of the adverse reactions are more likely in the initial stage of treatment. In the event of any physical or behavioural side effects, immediate medical attention is required. Patients who are at risk of developing an allergic reaction can experience severe adverse effects. Signs include high fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting, or trouble breathing. It�s important to monitor and address the problem immediately.
It is not uncommon for some patients to experience rapid heartbeats or breathing problems or both during the drug intake. These are usually transient and manageable if treated. For those who binge drink, side effects may range from confusion to seizures, which require the help of a medical doctor. Chest pain is another notable symptom. Hence, a patient must abstain from alcoholic beverages before using Lexapro.
With some of the side effects of this drug discussed, there are still other encounters a patient may have, which calls for the need to take precautions before and when using Lexapro. Focusing on sensitivity to either the tablet or syrup, children and the elderly tend to be more sensitive, with the former experiencing weight loss and lack of appetite and the latter, ataxia, bleeding, and QT prolongation.
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are advised to receive medical clearance before using Lexapro as it can affect unborn babies and newborns. Diabetics on treatment via the syrup should maintain sugar-free diets as the medicine contains aspartame or sugar. Furthermore, the use of heavy machinery or the operation of vehicular machines should be avoided during this period.
Lexapro may be an effective option in the treatment of depression but like all medications, it requires some precautions to keep in mind. Most importantly, it must be taken under the close supervision of a doctor. Patients using this medication must report all the changes in their health that could be related to their treatment. In most cases, they will notice improvements in their sleep patterns and have better moods and energy levels. Other side effects are often experienced but are generally manageable and safe.